Bellissima

One of Luchino Visconti’s (The Leopard, Death in Venice) little seen films—not in distribution in the US—Bellissima is a sly satire on the romantic illusions of the movie industry. Working class Maddalena (Oscar-winner Anna Magnani), a star-struck stage mother, is intent on finding fame and fortune for her rather ordinary daughter via a film career. In dogged pursuit of her dream, she manages to get a screen test for the girl at Rome’s legendary Cinecittà studio, but the ugly realities of the film industry soon shatter fantasies. “As in similar Hollywood-plays-itself melodramas (The Bad and the Beautiful, Sunset Boulevard), Bellissima both romanticizes the power of celluloid dreams while delivering a cuttingly cynical takedown of the movie industry.”—MOMA. Thanks to Cinecitta, Rome for the loan of this 35mm archival print. Portland author and film critic Shawn Levy, whose new book Dolce Vita Confidential tells the story of cinema and celebrity (Fellini, Loren, Pucci, paparazzi and more) in Rome in the 1950s, will introduce the film and sign books after the screening.

 

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Appears in: Special Screenings

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Other Films by Luchino Visconti

Rocco and His Brothers

VISITING ARTIST—A chronicle of family loyalty and disintegration, Visconti’s epic masterpiece is one of the most powerful and emotionally charged movies ever made. Rosaria Parondi and her five sons journey north to Milan to seek a better life, but the industrial north proves just as unforgiving as the desolation in Sicily. Simone (Renato Salvatori) becomes